We use cadence for several reasons. Firstly, there is no need to do any complicated tests to work out your average heart rate and watt zones. Many of you have busy lifestyles, so with cadence you can just jump straight on your trainer, knock out a session and feel the benefits right away.
Many of you will have experienced the following scenario before. Imagine arriving home from work after a busy day and you then have to jump on the turbo and ride a power-based or heart rate-based session. You get through your warm up without a problem. Then you are asked to ride at a given watt or heart rate output and you don’t get anywhere near the required numbers. Because you are mentally or physically fatigued (or both), you end up climbing off and end the session early feeling sorry for yourself.
With cadence-based training the situation is quite different. If you are tired after a hard day at work you can make it through the session by simply dropping down a few gears. OK - you won’t be doing the optimal work out, but at least you will finish the session and feel better for it. After time, you will be able to see improvement as your fitness levels rise.